How to Replace a Timing Belt on a 1986 Nissan King Cab Pickup

Nissan's 1986 Nissan King Cab pickup truck includes a timing belt. The timing belt is used to turn the vehicle's camshaft at exactly half the speed of the vehicle's crankshaft. The camshaft opens and closes the intake and exhaust valves at a specific time, which corresponds to the up-and-down movement of the engine's pistons. As with most parts in an engine, the timing belt must be removed and replaced if it doesn't work properly.

Tools Used: Wrench, Pliers, Socket wrench, Screwdriver

Replace Timing Belt

Remove the Old Timing Belt

Disconnect the black negative battery cable with a wrench and pliers. Remove the distributor cap from the engine with a socket wrench. The distributor cap sits on the top of the engine block and has several rods stemming out of it, each of which connect to a black wire. The wires can be pulled out of the distributor cap by hand.

Rotate the engine's crankshaft by turning a wrench on the crankshaft bolt until the timing mark on the crankshaft pulley is lined up with the "zero degree" mark on the Nissan's timing scale. Check to ensure that the distributor rotor is lined up with the index mark so that the number one cylinder is down and ready to fire. If the rotor is not properly lined up, rotate the crankshaft of the engine a full turn.

Remove the remaining accessory drive belts that are in front of the timing belt cover with a socket wrench. Loosen the bolts holding the timing belt cover in place and pull the cover from the engine. Check that the crank and crankshaft timing marks are properly aligned. This will help you easily install the new timing belt. Loosen the bolts holding down the timing belt tensioner.

Pull the tensioner away from the timing belt, then reinsert the tensioner bolts so that the tensioner remains in a loose position. Examine the tensioner for any damage or wear, such as cracks or dents.

Spin the tensioner pulley and listen for any humming or rattling noises. If you hear any of these noises, they might indicate that the bearings which help turn the tensioner and the timing belt are worn down. In this case you should replace the tensioner pulley.

Slide the timing belt off of its sprockets. If the belt has not been replaced in a long time it might stick to the sprockets and be tough to pull off. Slide a screwdriver between the belt and sprockets to pull it off.

Install the New Timing Belt

Compare the old and new timing belts to make sure the new belt matches the shape, teeth type, spacing between the belt teeth, and width of the old belt. If these do not match, find a replacement belt that does.

Examine the cam and crankshaft sprockets for any wear or damage. Replace them if any problems are discovered.

Slide the new timing belt over the sprockets and into position. Loosen the bolts on the timing belt tensioner so that the tensioner makes contact with the new timing belt. Adjust the timing belt tensioner to hold the belt firmly in place. Verify that you have properly aligned the timing belt to the timing marks on the cam, crank and accessory sprockets according to the timing scale on the engine.

Turn the crankshaft pulley with a wrench at least two full revolutions in its normal direction until the pulley is again aligned with the zero degree mark on the engine's timing scale. Check the other timing marks on the engine to make sure the belt is in its proper position.

Reinstall all necessary timing covers, drive belts and drive belt covers with a socket wrench and reattach the negative battery cable with a wrench. Start the engine to ensure that the timing belt is working properly.

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